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Oceans 5 - Return to Mingulay CD (album) cover


Oceans 5


Crossover Prog

3.93 | 139 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Wow, what to say about Andy John Bradford's Oceans 5. I admit I didn't know what to expect from this. I'm a fan of all the musicians, who all have other bands (Bradford solo, Colin Tench from BunChakeze, Corvus Stone & Odin of London, Victor Tassone of Unified Past, Stef Flaming of Murky Red, Marco Chiappini of Gandalf's Project).

However, one doesn't need to be a fan or even know of these other projects to enjoy "Return to Mingulay". I'm not a fan of genre classifications, which is good, as this album is a mix of styles, that works perfectly. Is it folky prog? Is it proggy folk? It's wonderful music, played with heart and soul by great musicians.

Opening with the old Scottish sea chanty, "The Mingulay Boat Song", one can tell this is not going to be an ordinary experience. I've heard various versions, including one by of my idols, Richard Thompson, and the Oceans 5 version is right up there, drawing you into practically being on the ship, sailing home to Mingulay.

The second song, "The Whitby Smuggler's Song," has the feel of a classic UK folk song, but the band, including Tench's guitar leads, draw away from Bradford's rhythm to "stretch" the folk boundary, with almost Gilmourish flourishes, within the smoothness of the folk rhythm.

To complete the Gilmour reference, Lorelei McBroom, who has sung with the 90s touring version of Pink Floyd and is currently in the excellent cover band The Australian Pink Floyd (I saw them in New York City 10 years ago, with a large kangaroo instead of a pig above the stage) guests with band on "6000 Friends", adding vocal flourishes to Bradford's solid vocals, reminiscent of Floyd's "Great Gig in the Sky".

The album's closing track "Fly Away" sums up the album, a poignantly beautiful original "folk" tune with all its progressive additions, mixing Tench's electric lead w/Bradford's acoustic rhythm, and what I'm guessing is string orchestration by guest Andres Guazzelli.

The musicianship on all nine songs is great. From Bradford's vocals and rhythm, to Flaming and Tassone's rock steady, yet explorative, bass and drums to Chiappini's perfectly timed keyboard flourishes to Tench's soaring lead guitar work (and production).

I've pre-ordered the CD, which comes with a digital download, including a .jpg of Sonia Mota's wonderful cover picture. I look forward to seeing more of her artwork when the CD is delivered. If I had to have one criticism, sometimes Tassone and Flaming's rhythms are low in the mix, at least to my taste. But that shouldn't dissuade you from listening to this wonderful music.

The bottom line, if you're a fan of good music, if you're a fan of these musicians, or if you're not and want to hear something new and original, with odes to various influences, this is an album worth hearing. I'm already waiting for their next album.

schleif | 5/5 |


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